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Court of Appeal issues orders to suspend minimum room rate

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The Court of Appeal yesterday issued interim orders suspending the operation of the Extraordinary Gazette Notification published on 11th September 2023 which imposed a Minimum Room Rate (MRR) for corporate and free independent tourist hotel rooms located within the limits of the Colombo Municipal Council area.

The Petitioners argued that the MRR was implemented without adequate consultation with key stakeholders in the tourism industry. They claimed that the rate lacked a rational basis, pointing out that the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority did not conduct a proper study before imposing the MRR.

Several key stakeholders pointed out that the MRR would unfairly favour certain hotel categories while detrimentally affecting the industry as a whole.

The suspended notice, as published in Extraordinary Gazette No.2349/02, set the MRR at US$ 100 for five-star tourist hotels, US$ 75 for four-star hotels, US$ 50 for three-star hotels, US$ 35 for two-star hotels, and US$ 20 for one-star hotels. Criticism from a significant number of stakeholders was leveled against this notice. Until the final determination of the case, the MRR will cease to operate, as per the interim orders issued by the Court of Appeal.

Faiszer Musthapha, PC with Shaheeda Barrie, Tharaka Nanayakkara, Amila Perera and Sierra Amarasiri appeared for the Petitioners including Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators, Sri Lanka Association of Professional Conference & Exhibition Organizers and Association of Small & Medium Enterprises in Tourism.  

Sanjeewa Jayawardena, PC appeared for the Hotels Association of Sri Lanka in support of the MRR. Earlier this month, Tourism Minister Harin Fernando said the MRR will be scrapped from 31 May.

(dailymirror.lk)

 (This story, originally published by dailymirror.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)

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Fresh protest in Jaffna over poaching by Indian fishermen

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Associations representing fishermen in the north today  staged a protest in front of the Indian Consulate in Jaffna demanding to stop the Indian trawler that were trespassing in the Sri Lankan waters.

They also met the Indian Consul General Sai Murali and handed over a letter.

The move came as the  government was planning to  take up the issue of poaching with the visiting Indian Foreign Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishnakar  who is due on June 20 in Colombo.

When President Ranil Wickremesinghe visited New Delhi on June 9 to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the matter was also raised in a separate meeting with Minister Dr Jaishnakar as well.

Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda earlier told the Sunday Times that the government will take up the matter with the visiting Indian Foreign Minister this week as the government is consistent with its policy of preventing Indian fishermen from robbing billions worth of fisheries resources from the Northern Sea.

“As a nation, we have to protect our resources, interests and the livelihood of our fisherfolks. I hope to raise the issue in the next Cabinet meeting (June 19) as well,” Minister Devananda said.

Days before the annual breeding ban was lifted, a group of fishermen’s unions based in North handed over a petition on Tuesday to officials at the Indian Consulate General office in Jaffna requesting them to make immediate steps to prevent Indian fishermen coming into Sri Lankan waters at the expense of their livelihood.

The fishermen unions which formed a collective outfit as Northen Fishermen’s Allaince requested President Wickremesinghe in a petition urged authorities to “expedite their maximum efforts to monitoring and preventing the daily incursion of thousands of Tamil Nadu trawlers every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday evenings,”

The two-month-long ban came into effect from April 14 onwards and was lifted on Friday is enforced to facilitate the breeding of fish banks in the ocean and maintain the equilibrium of marine sources for sustainability.

Currently, Indian fishermen who engage in fishing in Sri Lankan territorial waters are arrested by the Navy and Coast Guard and subjected to legal action after their trawlers are seized.

Following the legal action in which the Magistrate courts hand in a suspended sentence of eighteen months for engaging in fishing without a license, fishermen are released and repatriated through the assistance of Indian diplomatic missions.

(sundaytimes.lk)

(This story, originally published by sundaytimes.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)

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President tells Minister Wijeyadasa to quit?

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The Senior Vice Chairman of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), Prof. Rohana Lakshman Piyadasa has claimed that President Ranil Wickremesinghe has pressured Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, to resign from the government.

He alleged that Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe revealed this during a politburo meeting.

However, ‘Ada Derana’ reports that upon contacting Minister Rajapakshe, he said that the statement made by Prof. Rohana Lakshman Piyadasa is untrue.  

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 Railways TU action called off

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The Sri Lanka Railways Station Masters’ Union (SLRSMU) has decided to call off their planned trade union action as their demands are being reviewed by the Public Service Commission. 

The Commission is expected to announce its decision by Thursday (20). Meanwhile, train operations are continuing as usual today, according to the SLRSMU.

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